College Basketball

NCAA Tournament 2021: Picks For Every Elite Eight Game

March 30

By Jason McIntyre
FOX Sports Betting Analyst

The Sweet 16 regression hit different. Florida State didn’t show up. Loyola-Chicago couldn’t throw a rock in the ocean while standing on the shore. Syracuse was never competitive in the second half.

But things turned back around on Day 1 of the Elite Eight, as we press onward toward teams cutting down the nets with our picks against the spread for every single game (with all odds via FOX Bet).

Play the FOX Super 6 Tourney Challenge all tournament long for your chance to win thousands of dollars every round! Just download the FOX Super 6 app for free and make your picks now.

Overall record this tournament against the spread: 33-24

No. 6 USC (+9 at FOX Bet) to win outright or lose by fewer than 9 points vs. No. 1 Gonzaga

Dominant Gonzaga has covered in all three games in the tournament, winning 26 games in a row by double digits. But USC will be the best team Gonzaga has faced since December.

On Dec. 2, West Virginia kept it close with Gonzaga until the end thanks to offensive rebounds (14) and getting to the foul line (27-of-33). USC ranks 327th in free throw shooting, and in three tourney games, Gonzaga opponents have taken a total of 36 free throws. But the Trojans also rank 12th best at grabbing offensive rebounds.

I can see Gonzaga struggling – remember, Mark Few has only been to one Final Four in his career despite having some very good teams – but USC could see some 3-point regression after going 10-for-17 from deep against Oregon and 11-for-18 against Kansas.

My favorite stat of this round: Gonzaga is the No. 1 2-point offense in the country. USC is the No. 1 2-point defensive team in the nation. This is, truly, the best against the best. Pick: USC +9 at FOX Bet

No. 11 UCLA (+7 at FOX Bet) to win outright or lose by fewer than 7 points vs. No. 1 Michigan

The Pac-12 somehow placed three teams in the Elite Eight, and I think I’ve talked myself into betting on two of them.

Yes, it will be the third straight time I’ve gone against Michigan, which will have a decided height advantage inside if Cody Riley gets in any foul trouble. And UCLA is playing its fifth game in 12 days, not great for a team that barely goes eight deep.

The Wolverines prevailed in a track meet against LSU, and slowed down to beat FSU. UCLA’s Mick Cronin has pushed all the right buttons during this March run, and he’ll be able to keep this one close with tenacious halfcourt defense. The Franz Wagner versus Johnny Juzang matchup will have the eyes of the NBA scouts, too. Pick: UCLA +7 at FOX Bet

Jason McIntyre is a FOX Sports gambling analyst, and he also writes about the NFL and NBA Draft. He joined FS1 in 2016 and has appeared on every show on the network. In 2017, McIntyre began producing gambling content on the NFL, college football and NBA for FOX Sports. He had a gambling podcast for FOX, "Coming Up Winners," in 2018 and 2019. Before arriving at FOX, he created the website The Big Lead, which he sold in 2010. 

Play the FOX Super 6 Tourney Challenge all tournament long for your chance to win thousands of dollars every round! Just download the FOX Super 6 app for free and make your picks now.


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